Category Archives: Nightlife

Bars, pubs, nightclubs, live music

Fiz Bar review: Sharing plates and plenty of bubbles at London’s sparkling wine bar

Fiz Bar

Enjoy sharing plates, with a special version of a cheese toastie, one of the highlights

While a lot of people enjoy sparkling wines, London’s champagne bars tend to be rather exclusive and expensive destinations. With the rise in popularity in the more affordable Prosecco and Cava in recent years, the capital has been ripe for an alternative. Opening in Soho this summer is the capital’s first dedicated sparkling wine bar. Fiz Bar is having a 10 week residency at the Lights Of Soho, offering a range of bubbles and food.

Fiz Bar © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Experiment with white, red or rose sparkling wines

I popped (excuse the pun!) along with a gal pal last week to check it out in its first few days. The venue has taken over the ground floor of members’ club Lights Of Soho in Brewer Street. Immediately walking in the atmosphere was a world away from champagne bars – bustling, casual and full of energy. We pulled up a stool at one of the side tables so had a good vista of the busy bar and kitchen area. The drinks menu features a range of sparkling wine including Prosecco, Cava, English sparkling, Cremante and more by the bottle or glass, with most of the latter in the £5 range. If you’re with a friend who’s not into wines, there’s also a small selection of other drinks, including cider, lager and spirits to keep them refreshed.

As the day on question was pretty hot and summery, I was in the mood for some sparkling rose so started with the Paternina Cava Rose, a fruity wine which went down very well. Next to shake things up I hoped across the Mediterranean to Italy for a glass of Canal di Rajo Lemoss Frizzante, which had a fuller aroma and richer taste because it was unfiltered. Finally to finish off, I enjoyed a couple of glasses of the 47 AD Prosecco, a lovely soft and refreshing wine.

Of course, with all this quaffing going on, it was only sensible we should be lining our stomachs too. Quite wisely, Fiz Bar serves a mix of buns or sharing dishes ranging from £3.75 to £9.50. We opted to share the Grilled asparagus with salsa verde; Smoked Trout with Fennel, Dill Pickles and Charcoal Sourdough; and Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Comte, Emmental and Ogleshield. All three dishes were delicious. I thought the charcoal sourdough was particularly interesting, with the trout absolutely yummy. The grilled cheese was very naughty, but incredibly moreish.

Overall, Fiz is a great addition to the London bar scene, offering something different from craft beer houses, champagne bars and speakeasies that are becoming so commonplace. The staff were really friendly and the quality of the food and drink is exceptional. Fiz Bar is in residence until August so check it out while you can.

  • Fiz @ Lights Of Soho, 35 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. Open Mon 6pm-11.30pm, Tues-Thur 10am-11.30pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am; Sun 12pm-4pm. For more information, visit the Fiz Bar Website.
Fiz Bar © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Fiz Bar has taken over the ground floor of Lights Of Soho in Brewer Street for the summer

For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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Pavilion Lates review: After hours fun at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Dulwich Picture Gallery are hosting late night events every Friday at their Pavilion throughout June and July

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the opening of Dulwich Picture Gallery, the oldest public art gallery in the UK. To mark the occasion, the Gallery hosted a competition to rising architects to design a temporary summer pavilion for the grounds. If_Do won the competition with their airy wood and mesh creation, which will remain outside the Gallery all summer. Throughout June and July, the gallery are hosting late night openings every Friday, featuring special themed events both in and outside the gallery.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The alternative tour of the gallery gives you interesting stories behind some of the art

Earlier this month, I visited the Gallery for their late night opening, entitled ‘Baroque Mash Up’. The DPG is renowned for its collection of French, Spanish and Italian Baroque paintings, so the night took inspiration from this particular genre of art. Entering the gallery grounds, our eyes were immediately drawn to the main attraction – the Pavilion. Within the structure was a pop-up bar from the Camberwell Arms serving cocktails, wine and snacks, so our first priority was to order a drink and soak up the atmosphere. There was plenty of seating both around the Pavilion and the manicured lawns so a lovely space to relax on a warm summer evening. The gallery’s café is also open late serving food if you’re in the mood for something more substantial. While sipping our cocktails, we were entertained by musicians Benjamin Tassie and Liam Byrne playing their original, experimental music, which really complemented the history of the gallery and the social setting. Also in the Pavilion were guests taking part in a cross-stitch workshop, using patterns from some of the Gallery’s works.

During Pavilion Lates, there is free access to the Gallery, which normally costs to enter. We joined one of the hourly tours of the gallery, billed as an ‘alternative tour’. Our guide showed us some popular paintings in the gallery and gave us a list of facts about the subject or the painter – but added an untrue ‘fact’ which we had to guess. As well as injecting a bit of fun into a typically straight-laced activity, it also showcased some surprising facts about artists and the art world I had never heard before. Following the tour, you were free to explore the collection or take part in the collage making workshop.

Overall, it was a lovely, interesting evening – particularly when the weather is good so you can really make the most of the Pavilion and its setting. I’ll definitely be returning to another Pavilion Lates this summer.

  • Pavilion Lates take place every Friday in June and July (except 7 July) 2017 from 6-10pm. In the grounds of Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, SE21 7AD. Nearest station: West Dulwich or North Dulwich. Tickets: Free, but you must register for a ticket on the Dulwich Picture Gallery website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in July, click here.

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Foodies, smoothies, movies and more at the Vauxhall Street Food Garden

Vauxhall Street Food Garden

Eat your way around the world at the Vauxhall Street Food Garden

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Vauxhall’s main streets and stations is a little summer oasis. Returning for a fourth year is the Vauxhall Street Food Garden, an open-air garden full of food, drinks and entertainment. Open every weekday and selected weekends, the Garden is a great spot for lunches or summer evening socialising.

Vauxhall Street Food Garden

The Garden is a little oasis in the busy surrounds of Vauxhall

Situated just moments from the train and tube station, the Garden is a free-to-enter urban space featuring street food stalls with food and drink from around the world. Foodies will be spoilt for choice with offerings from City Burger, Win & Lily, Beefcake London, Big Mama Food, Feast UK, Macstreetboys, Opa Opa, The Wrap Game, Malobi’s Joint, Bulgarian Grill, CARIB Catering, Laurel Foods UK, Dogers, Fratelli Diteglia UK, Kerbside Kitchen, Mackie Jerk Stop, Sfornat, Smokings Barbecue, Texas BBQ, Wandercrust, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Bam Boo, Biff’s Kitchen, Food Gangnam Style, Magic Churros, The Lo Food, Frakes Malay, Cubano, Don Donburi, Eat Well, Jam Rocks, Kuzinaki, Sweet Nothing Bakehouse, Crazy For Pasta, Arostape Italian Skewers, Yaay Yaay, and more.

Meanwhile, visitors looking for some alfresco drinking can check out the The Smirnoff Bar and the Red Bull Lodge. There will be a wide choice of soft and hard drinks, with Love Taste making fresh fruit smoothies daily. As well as serving seasonal cocktails and mocktails, the Red Bull Lodge will be hosting the daily entertainment programme. Among the fun events on offer will be Monday Movie Nights; monthly Tuesday events with London Gaymers; Wednesday Quiz Nights; Thursday dance classes; charity events; and wine tastings (11 July, 8 August, 12 September). Meanwhile, the selected weekend openings will have more entertainment, including DJs and the full line-up of food and drink stalls. For those looking to make a party of it, there are beach huts available for hire and a massage service.

  • Vauxhall Street Food Garden is open from now until September 2017. Open Mon-Fri: 11.30am–10pm. Open weekends: 1-2 July, 5-6 August, 9-10 September. Free entry. Located at 6A South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, SW8 1RT. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall Street Food Garden website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in July, click here.

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Guide to London’s open air and pop-up cinemas in summer 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Watch movies with a view at the Rooftop Cinema

Londoners don’t get anywhere near the amount of warm weather we would like. So when it is sunny, we all head outside. Of course, this leaves film fans in a predicament – who wants to be stuck indoors when the weather is so glorious? Over the past few years, pop-up and open air cinemas have been steadily rising in popularity and this summer will be no different. Of course, sometimes the weather isn’t so kind, so many roaming film clubs are hosting screenings in unique London indoor venues as well. Here’s a guide to the capital’s open-air and pop-up cinemas so you can enjoy some alfresco entertainment with an ice-cold beer or glass of wine… sounds good doesn’t it?

  • 4 May – September : Rooftop Film Club

The Rooftop Film Club is for rooftops only (obviously). Screening a mix of films including recent releases and classics. Venues include the Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch, the Bussey Building in Peckham Rye, Roof East in Stratford, Queen Of Hoxton in Shoreditch and Kensington Roof Gardens. Ticket includes headphones, blankets and deckchairs. Tickets: £15. To find out more, visit the Rooftop Film Club website.

  • 23 May – September : The Nomad Cinema

Travelling cinema company returns this summer with a new roll call of venues. Locations include Proud East, Paddington Street Gardens, The Hoxton Hotel, CityPoint, Grosvenor Square, Queen’s Park and Festival Gardens by St Paul’s Cathedral. Ticket prices £10-£25. For booking, visit the Nomad Cinema website.

  • 6 June – 25 July : London Bridge City Summer Festival Screenings

Free film screenings every Tuesday throughout June and July. Get to the steps early to grab a spot. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and listings, visit the London Bridge City website.

  • 7 – 18 June : Westfield Open-Air Cinema

Westfield will be hosting an open-air cinema during at London Food Month’s Night Market. A host of international street food stalls and bars will be serving grub and refreshments so keep you fuelled while you watch a mix of classic and new films. Cinema tickets are Adults £4, Children £2 when added to food market entry (Adults £15, Children £8). Perks Field, 7 Kensington Palace Gardens, Kensington, W8 4PU. Nearest station: Queensway or High Street Kensington. For booking, visit the London Food Month website. Read the rest of this entry

Summer drinks, lawn games and city views at Skylight, London’s newest rooftop destination

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Skylight is a new summer rooftop destination with views over the City

Coming to London’s East End this summer is a new rooftop destination with a lot more to offer than just alfresco drinking. Skylight in Wapping opens on 25 May offering three levels of summer fun with views of the City of London. Styled as an urban lawn club, the nightspot will offer cocktails, street food, croquet, petanque and more.

Coming from the team behind Tobacco Dock and Interact, this new venue is breathing new life into an unused space with room for up to 600 people. Situated above the 19th century, listed Tobacco Dock, Skylight will have awesome views of The Shard, Walkie Talkie and The Gherkin, among other iconic London sights.

On long summer nights, Londoners can head to the rooftop to enjoy an array of indoor and outdoor games. Skylight features two petanque courts, lawn bowls and three croquet lawns.

For those interested in drinking, there will be bars on every level, offering summery spritzes, cocktails and beer. The Blue Moon bar and lounge sky terrace will boast the best views in the place to sink a drink while watching the sunset. If you’re feeling peckish, several street food names have set up camp for the summer, including We Serve Humans burgers and Yiro Greek street food.

  • Skylight, Tobacco Quay, Pennington Street entrance, Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. Open all summer from 25 May 2017 on Thu-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-11pm. Free entry. Croquet costs £20-£30ph for teams up to 6 people, Petaque costs £15 per 30 mins for teams up to 4 people. For more information, visit the Skylight website.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Order a sundowner at one of the many bars or play a spot of croquet

For a guide to what else is on in London in July, click here.

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Brixton Beach: The spirit of Cuba comes to South London with cocktails, food, music and more

© Brixton Beach

The spirit of Cuba comes to South London at the Brixton Beach this summer

As the weather gets warmer and the nights get brighter, there’s not much better places to be in London than a rooftop bar. This summer, city slickers will be able to enjoy a slice of Cuba at Brixton Beach. The open-air hotspot comes from the award-winning team behind South Pole Saloon, Big Apple Brixton and last year’s popular Brixton Beach Boulevard. Londoners can step away from city life for a few hours as they are transported to a tropical paradise with plenty of food, drink and entertainment.

Revellers will be entertained by a series of events and experiences, including day or night parties, DJs, film and beach barbeques. As you would expect, the bar will be serving up a plethora of tropical concotions with a Cuban-inspired menu. Expect to sip on classics including Rum Daiquiris, Piña Coladas, Cubanitos and Mojitos from Bacardi while you inhale the scents of mint and other hanging, fresh and fruity foliage. While fans of Jamaican beer will be able to visit the dedicated Red Stripe bar, others can quaff Argentine sparkling wine from Moët Hennessy at their exclusive beach side lounge bar. As the nights draw in, guests can dance the night away at The Clubhouse – a covered area inspired by iconic venues such as La Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio, which will play host to live music, dancers and cabaret performers.

When revellers are feeling peckish, there will be a choice of street food stalls, including Mac and Cheese experts, Mac to the Future, Nanban’s Japanese soul food, Del 74’s Mexican tacos and STAKEhaus. There will also be weekly BBQ pop-up residencies from some of the capital’s most smoking venues every Thursday, such as Mama’s Jerk and Negril.

Every weekend there will be a beach party with entertainment from a range of genres by live DJs, traditional Latin American brass bands and exciting cabaret performances. This summer’s line-up includes Ben Pearce, Norman Jay MBE, Late Nite Tuff Guy, Maxxi Soundsystem, Paul Woolford and PBR Streetgang. Meanwhile, Sunday Sessions will be hosted by the likes of SolidGrooves, Metalheadz, Midnight Riot and Supa Dupa Fly. In July, the Brixton Beach will be hosting Cuba’s biggest holiday, Carnival de Cuba, with their Beach Carnival, featuring Cuban dancers and afro-Cuban drum music.

  • Brixton Beach, Pope’s Road, Brixton, SW9 8JH. Nearest station: Brixton. Brixton Beach Havana opens for the summer from 26 May to 1 October 2017. Open Thu: 6pm-11pm, Fri: 6pm-12am, Sat 2pm-12am, Sun 2pm-11pm. For more information, visit the Brixton Rooftop website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in July, click here.

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Learn the art of pizza making at BungaTINI

© Lateef Okunnu for BungaTINI

Make your own pizza at BungaTINI in Covent Garden
© Lateef Okunnu for BungaTINI

Despite the recent trend for clean-eating, if many people are honest with themselves, eating a pizza is a lot more appealing than a salad (well, it certainly is to me!). But how many of us have actually made our own pizza from scratch?

Well, Covent Garden’s newest eating venue BungaTINI is offering diners the chance to enrol on pizza making classes. From 11 April, the Italian eaterie will be hosting weekly classes every Tuesday. The fun-filled lessons will include a welcome drink and 90 minutes of kitchen tuition.

During the evening, the aspiring pizza chefs will be taken through lessons on ‘the history of pizza’, ‘dough making’, ‘dough throwing’, ‘pizza topping and, finally, pizza eating. While working up an appetite in the kitchen, guests will have a choice of a complimentary Peroni, Prosecco, Aperol Spritz or red or white wine. After eating the fruits of their labour, guests will receive a goodie bag full of treats and a group photo.

BungaTINI is a new all-day pizzeria and aperitivo bar from the same team behind the famous Bunga Bunga in Battersea. For those in the mood for some late-night revelry, diners can pass through a meat locker door to Bunga Bunga Covent Garden next door for some singing and dancing action.

  • Pizza Making Classes at BungaTINI take place every Tuesday from 6.30pm-8.30pm. £28pp. BungaTINI, 167 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, WC2B 5PG. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Holborn. For more information, visit the BungaTINI website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in May, click here.

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Drink at London’s best bars under one roof at Cocktails In The City

© Maya Jancar (B&H Group)

Drink at London’s top bars under one roof at Cocktails In The City
© Maya Jancar (B&H Group)

It’s that time of year again as the UK’s biggest cocktail celebration returns to the capital this month. The spring edition of Cocktails In The City brings some of the best drinking hotspots to you. Setting up camp at the stunning surrounds of One Marylebone, Londoners can go on a bar crawl under one roof.

© Maya Jancar (B&H Group)

Be open to experimenting
© Maya Jancar (B&H Group)

Twenty-five of the world’s top bars will be hosting pop-ups from 30 March – 1 April in the Georgian venue’s Grand Hall. Among those representing will be The Artesian (four-time winner of World’s Best Bar), concealed hotspots London Cocktail Club and Reverend JW Simpson, speakeasies Barts and The Lucky Pig and hotel classics Trader Vic’s and The Blue Bar, serving their signature drinks and experimental new creations.

Meanwhile, jetting in from Europe will be Berlin’s Schwein Bar, Stockholm’s Linje Tio, Oslo’s Himkok and Copenhagen’s Ruby. The Nordic bars will be teaming up with Woodford Reserve to create the ‘Hygge’ drinking experience with their pop-up bars nestled together on the cosy 2nd floor.

Cocktail fans will also have the chance to blend their own bespoke gin with London micro-distillery Sacred in the enchanted garden, mix their own concotions with some of the capital’s finest mixologists and learn how to create the ultimate Rum Punch with The Duppy Share.

Other bars taking part include 100 Hoxton, 214 Bermondsey, Burlock, Cahoots, Disrepute, Gaucho, Hush, The Four Sisters Townhouse and Three Six Six.

  • Cocktails In The City takes place from 30 March – 1 April 2017 at One Marylebone, 1 Marylebone Road, Marylebone, NW1 4AQ. Nearest station: Great Portland Street or Regents Park. Ticket: £15 includes 1 cocktail. For more information and booking, visit the Cocktails In The City website.

For a guide to what else is on in April, click here.

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Boozy sweets, garnish-your-own cocktails and make edible perfume at The Flavour Rooms, Carnaby

© Smith & Sinclair

The Flavour Room pop-up shop and bar serves cocktails, edible alcohol and gives you the chance to create your own edible perfume
© Smith & Sinclair

Following on from their success of The Flavour Rooms at the Sanderson Hotel and Bluewater last year, flavour pioneers Smith & Sinclair are back with a new sensory, taste experience for adventurous Londoners. Launching in Soho this March will be an exciting new pop-up cocktail bar with a twist.

© Smith & Sinclair 2015

Down the hatch! Try Smith & Sinclair’s trademark cocktail pastilles

Smith & Sinclair are teaming up with Tanqueray London Dry Gin to launch the Tanqueray Experimental Garnish Bar. The menu will feature a bespoke collection of four Tanqueray cocktails which drinkers are invited to get creative with and experiment with their own edible garnishes, such as edible perfumes, gin oils and spherification balls that pop in the mouth. Guests are encouraged to reserve a spot at the bar in advance at £12pp, which includes a Smith & Sinclair edible cocktail, a Tanqueray cocktail and a range of garnishes.

For those in a really creative mood, you can head to the edible perfume workshop to make your own scents to smell… and taste. You’ll be taken on a journey through the history of fragrance along with tastings, before the opportunity to create your own bottle. Sessions start from £35pp and can be booked in advance.

Meanwhile, in addition to the bar and perfume workshops, Smith & Sinclair’s range of boozy sweet treats, including its signature cocktail pastilles, alcoholic bubbles, cocktail-infused vapours, alcoholic dib dabs and more will be available to buy.

  • The Flavour Room, Carnaby will be open from 3 March – 2 April 2017 at 8 Ganton Street, Soho, W1F 7QP. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. Opening times: Shop – Mon-Sun 10am-7pm. Bar (over 18s only): Wed-Sat 10am-12am. For more information, visit the Flavour Room website. For tickets for the Smith & Sinclair and Tanqueray Experimental Garnish Bar, visit this DesignMyNight link, or for tickets to the Smith & Sinclair Edible Perfume Experience, visit this link.

For a guide to what else is on in London in March, click here.

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Pitch Black review: Put your taste buds to the test at a drinking in the dark experience

© Baker & Balfour

Explore your senses and put your taste buds to the test at Pitch Black blind cocktail and wine tasting
© Baker & Balfour

Anyone who follows my Instagram account will know I’m quite the cocktail connoisseur. Despite having my favourites (yes Mojito, I’m talking about you!), I usually opt to try as many new concoctions as possible to widen my booze palate so to speak. However, my extensive experience of downing alcoholic creations meant I wasn’t so good at recognising some at a recent special event.

For Valentine’s Day last week, I was treated to a visit to Pitch Black – a new blind tasting experience. Pitch Black was a pop-up in Shoreditch in late 2016 before moving to its current base, the Sixties-themed No Such Place events space in Covent Garden. I wasn’t given any information about the evening beforehand, so had no idea what to expect. After arriving at the basement venue – which had a very Mad Men vibe – we were treated to a welcome glass of Prosecco to ease into the evening. At this point the lights were on, so be rest assured, the night doesn’t start with you suddenly being plunged into darkness.

Following the bubbles, we went into a cosy room for the main part of the evening – the blind cocktail and wine tasting. Our host for the evening was Dom, an experienced and enthusiastic bar veteran with plenty of knowledge and banter. Although admittedly apprehensive when I found out it was in the dark, Dom soon set our minds at ease so it wasn’t long before I was intrigued and ready for the challenge. When the lights went off, we handily have glow-in-the-dark coasters in front of us so we can easily find our drinks. We started on the first cocktail served in a lowball, smelling it first before sampling the liquid inside. As a group we were invited to discuss what smells and tastes we were experiencing, which soon showcased just how different our senses were given the wide variety of answers.

Before moving on to wine after the sweetness of the cocktails, we were given an amuse bouche each to cleanse the palate, ready for the stark difference in texture and flavour of the wines. The first wine was a white one which I was convinced was a Chilean Chenin Blanc (I was wrong). After the tasting, the lights were turned on (gently!) and we were given the results of the tasting tests. Turns out, many of us were pretty incorrect on the main ingredients of the cocktails, as well as the identity and origin of the white, but a couple of people correctly guessed the red.

Overall, it was a fun and interesting experience. Living in London, we’re such a rush, we don’t often take the time to fully savour the smells and flavour of the food and drink we’re consuming. By restricting our vision, we were able to focus on the taste and it really brought a new dimension to drinking. If you’re looking for a night out with a difference, it’s well worth checking out.

  • Pitch Black @ No Such Place, 68A Neal Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9PA. Nearest station: Covent Garden. Advance bookings only for 90 minute experience. Tickets include bubbles on arrival, two cocktails, an amuse bouche and two wines. For more information, visit the Pitch Black website.

For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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